Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Michael Childress

Committee Member

Dr. Meghnaa Tallapragada

Committee Member

Dr. Danielle Herro

Committee Member

Dr. Cindy Lee


Climate change is one of the most destructive forces our ocean is currently experiencing. Despite this, many students are not taught the basics of climate change science and ocean literacy in public school systems. My work seeks to combat these deficits through educational experiences in marine science for undergraduate and local elementary students through three studies incorporating marine-science based research and outreach. (1) Through undergraduate marine science research and outreach, students enrolled for long durations or with positive mentorship increased their conceptual understanding of marine science concepts, altered their attitudes towards climate change and science, and were more likely to pursue STEM careers. (2) In an online marine science, project-based learning (PBL) setting, undergraduates increased their conceptual understanding and developed vital research and communication skills, although their attitudes towards science and climate change did not change. (3) Finally, elementary students engaged in citizen science did not exhibit any changes in their science identity or conceptual understanding, although more data is needed to fully interpret these findings. Collectively, these studies show that experiential learning can be an effective way to integrate students into marine science and help them understand the impacts of climate change. However, further research is needed to understand if PBL and citizen science specifically can be used to change student understanding and attitudes.

Author ORCID Identifier




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